Whether it’s your best fur friend’s birthday or she’s going through a finicky phase, dog food toppers are a welcomed goodie in your pupper’s bowl.
While these fun food additions aren’t a must, your doggo will appreciate the tasty treat once in a while, or you can make them a regular part of her routine to keep her licking her bowl clean each time.
Let’s run through the ins and outs of dog food toppers and discuss some of the best ones you can find today.
Best Dog Food Toppers: Quick Picks
- #1 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Cuts Trail Toppers [Best Overall Topper] — Tasty meat-rich, grain-free meal toppers that are available in four pooch-pleasing flavors.
- #2 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer [Best Freeze-Dried Raw Topper] — Nutritious and delicious food toppers made with fruits, veggies, and raw, freeze-dried meats.
- #3 Flavors Food Topper [Most Affordable Topper] — Powdered, flavor-rich dog food toppers that are easy to add and very affordable.
What Are the Benefits of Dog Food Toppers?
Dog food toppers aren’t just yummy — they can improve meal time significantly for your pooch, especially if she’s a picky eater or needs to put on some weight.
The upsides of dog food toppers include:
- They can help entice picky dogs to eat.
- Toppers can increase the caloric value of your pet’s food.
- Some dog food toppers help increase a meal’s protein content.
- Some toppers contain nutritional extras like Omega-3s and glucosamine.
- Toppers — especially liquid versions — can help hide medications.
- Toppers are helpful for transitioning your dog to a new food.
- Dog food toppers can soften food for pups with missing or weak teeth.
How Do You Pick a Good Food Topper for Your Dog?
Selecting the right food topper for your pup is similar to how you’d pick her regular food. You want to take a good look at your pooch and consider her:
- Age: Your dog’s needs vary as she grows. A puppy requires nutrients to aid in growth, while an elderly pup may benefit from extra glucosamine and chondroitin for joints.
- Breed: Your four-footer’s overall size and background shape her eating habits. A large breed puppy requires food to help her grow safely, for instance. Meanwhile, Chihuahuas (including deer- and apple-headed varieties) may need smaller-sized toppers that are easier to chew because of their tiny jaws.
- Overall health: Some health conditions may require you to be extra critical of your dog’s food, like chronic pancreatitis or diabetes. Always chat with your vet first just to be sure you’re selecting a food and topper that will work best for your special needs pupper.
- Dietary needs: If your canine connoisseur has any food allergies or sensitivities, you need to monitor a potential food topper’s ingredients carefully to find hypoallergenic food ingredients. Ingredients can be sneaky, so you never want to assume that a food only contains the flavor-specific protein. For example, chicken fats and similar poultry products may appear in a salmon-based topper.
- Weight: Doggos that are pleasantly plump shouldn’t be fed empty calories, so toppers aren’t always a good idea. Conversely, a skinny mini of a dog who needs to gain weight, would benefit from a more calorically dense option.
- Taste: Not every protein will tickle your pupper’s palate. My Peke-Chi mix Taj would stage a hunger strike rather than eat turkey, for instance. You need to pick a protein your dog will enjoy along with formula that mixes into kibble, preventing her from picking out the topper.
In addition to considering your dog’s health, desires, and lifestyle, you’ll want to examine the food itself too. When examining a potential food topper option, pay attention to:
- Shelf life: With shelf lives varying from weeks to months (or even over a year), it’s important to consider how long you’d like a topper to last. Some require you to buy in bulk, which is usually OK if you have more than one dog, but if you only have an itty-bitty Yorkie at home, you might run into an issue with spoilage.
- Storage needs: From the freezer to pantry, meal toppers have vastly different storage needs. While most kibble survives just fine in a dog food storage container in the closet, some toppers require refrigeration at all times, which may encroach on your food space. Others are OK to store at room temperature, even after opening.
- Prep required: Some toppers need more prep work than others, with frozen patties requiring thawing, for example. This may sound minor, but it can throw off your daily routine, especially if you forget to thaw it before meal time. Others might need mixing or other preparation with your pup’s regular food, which can mean more cleanup.
The Best Dog Food Toppers
There are many meal topper options available, and like all dog products, some are better than others.
You want to make sure you’re getting the maximum meal boost for your buck, as shoveling junk and empty calories (and possibly questionable ingredients) won’t do your doggo any favors.
Here are our top dog food toppers:
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Cuts Trail Toppers
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Cuts Trail Toppers
Tasty, meaty, grain-free toppers that are easy to serve
About: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers make meal time extra special with chopped meat and a savory gravy. Simply squeeze out a portion (or the whole packet) on your dog’s food and watch her enjoy. For pickier pooches, mix it in thoroughly with your pup’s kibble.
- Each packet contains the good stuff — real chunked meat
- Grain-free formula has no corn, soy, wheat, or by-products
- Intended to be a supplemental topper, so serve this with your dog’s regular food
- Store at room temperature unless opened (refrigerate unused portion)
- Made in the USA
Options: Offered in 3-ounce pouches, these come in chicken, salmon, beef, and duck formulas.
(Chicken recipe) Chicken, Chicken broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product...,
Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Carbonate
- Made with real meat and mixable gravy
- Each flavor’s ingredient list starts with a protein
- Uses natural flavors
- Made in the USA
- Can be messy
- Some flavors contain multiple proteins
2. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer
Grain-free toppers packed with nutrients, probiotics, and antioxidants
About: Make your mutt’s meal time a scrumptious experience with Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer. Made with real meat and a medley of veggies, it’s a nutrient-dense, grain-free dog food topper.
- Includes a mixture of meat, organs, and ground bones
- Crafted in small batches, ensuring quality
- Formulated as a supplemental meal topper for all life stages
- Made in the USA
Options: Available in four bag sizes, ranging from 3.5 ounces to 35 ounces, and in eight flavors: beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, turkey, seafood, and a salmon/cod combo.
(Chicken recipe) Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries...,
Organic Spinach, Organic Broccoli, Organic Beets, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Blueberries, Fenugreek Seed, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Phosphate, Tocopherols, Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid
- Very convenient to use
- Made in the USA
- Most flavors only contain a single protein
- Contains probiotics to support digestive function
- Because it’s dry, cleanup is a snap
- These toppers are pretty pricey
- May allow picky dogs to eat around the kibble
3. The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers
The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers
Human-grade, single-protein recipes made with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies
About: The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers pack a punch of nutrients in each tasty bite. Ideal for getting your dog the extra goodness she needs, this mixture contains a balanced serving of real meat and vegetables.
- Prepared in a human food production facility
- Intended as a supplement to your doggo’s regular meals
- No corn, soy, wheat, or by-products included
- Suitable for pantry storage
- Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients (none from China)
Options: Available in 5.5-ounce and 14-ounce bags, Proper Toppers come in four flavors: turkey, chicken, beef, and fish.
(Chicken recipe) Dehydrated Chicken, Dried Apples, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Kale, Dried Blueberries...,
Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement
- Top-notch ingredient quality
- Made in human food production facility
- Contains antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies
- Single-protein recipes
- Premium ingredients come at a price
- Some dogs may be inclined to pick out the topper and avoid kibble
4. Brutus Bone Broth
Brutus Bone Broth
Easy-to-pour broth topper with joint-supporting supplements
About: Your fussy eater may meet her match with Brutus Bone Broth, a tasty splash that’s free of artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives. A hip- and joint-supporting formula, these toppers give your pooch an added boost of glucosamine and chondroitin for bone health.
- Made with natural, human-grade ingredients
- Formulated for all dogs
- Low-sodium formula
- Ideal for older pups who need kibble softened
- Can be served over kibble or on the side as a hydration boost
- Made in the USA
- Can be frozen in cubes for future use beyond 21 days after opening
Options: Available in beef and chicken formulas, this broth comes in 2, 6, and 12-count options.
(Beef formula) Beef Broth, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vegetable Broth, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor...,
Beef Flavor, Chondroitin Sulfate, Yeast Extract, Modified Potato Starch, Turmeric
- Liquid-style toppers are very easy to use
- Prevents picky pups from eating around kibble
- Joint-supporting additives are a bonus
- May be messy
- Relatively low-calorie formula won’t help thin dogs put on weight
5. Flavors Food Topper
Flavors Food Topper
Easy to use powder-style topper that blends easily with your dog’s kibble
About: Flavors Food Topper takes the hard work out of jazzing up your pup’s meal. Just shake it up, sprinkle a measured amount on her food, and watch her enjoy.
- Grain-free with no corn, soy, or wheat
- Human-grade mixture
- Only ½ tsp needed per one cup of kibble
- Fine powder prevents sneaky pooches from picking out the good stuff
- Easy pantry storage
- Made in the USA
Options: Available in chicken, peanut butter, red meat, and white cheddar flavors and two shaker jar sizes: 3.1 ounces and 6 ounces.
(Red meat flavor): Beef, Dehydrated Beef Bone Broth, Potato Starch, Dehydrated Sweet Potato...,
- Pantry-friendly for easy storage
- Super easy to use — just sprinkle it on your pup’s food
- Lower in calories than other options, adding flavor without packing on pupper pounds
- Since it’s low in calories, it won’t help your dog gain a few pounds like other nutrient-dense formulas
- Not every dog is a big fan of the flavor
Homemade Dog Food Toppers
You can always make a tasty homemade dog food topper for your fur kid, too. These are great if your dog has food sensitivities, and you’d like more control over what goes into her diet.
That said, homemade dog food toppers require a fair amount of preparation, and purchasing meat can get pricey. Not only that, but a homemade food topper’s shelf life is limited, and it must be refrigerated.
1. A Fork’s Tale Homemade Chicken Dog Food
About: A Fork’s Tale Homemade Chicken Dog Food is a set it and forget it recipe that you can prepare in your crock pot. It’s designed as a meal, but it’d work great for a topper too. This also means it’s calorie-dense, it’s ideal for dogs who need to gain a few pounds or maintain their weight.
- 3 pounds ground chicken
- 1 cup butternut squash
- 15-ounce can of low-sodium kidney beans (drained)
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 ½ cups uncooked rice
- 4 cups water
Directions: Add all ingredients to your crock pot and stir together. Cook on high for four hours or low for six hours. Stir occasionally as it cooks.
Once prepared, one cup of this topper provides roughly 297 calories, so a little goes a long way. Just be sure to refrigerate any leftovers.
Since this makes a decent amount of food, you can always half the recipe or freeze excess portions.
2. PawCulture’s Fancy Fish Topper
About: PawCulture’s Fancy Fish Topper is a fish-loving Fido’s dream. Made with an assortment of fresh, yummy ingredients, it’s a well-rounded addition to your dog’s diet.
- 10 ounces cooked Atlantic mackerel
- 14 ounces green beans
- 5 ounces goat yogurt
- 2 small boiled and peeled eggs
- 28 ounces boiled skinless mashed sweet potato
- 10 blueberries
- 1 cored apple
- 1 teaspoon calcium carbonate
Directions: Combine vegetables and fruits in a food processor. Add this mixture to the yogurt, calcium carbonate, and mashed sweet potato in a large bowl. In another bowl, mash cooked fish and eggs into small pieces. Fold the egg and fish blend into the remaining mixture.
This recipe makes seven portions for a medium-sized dog. Keep any unused portion refrigerated, or freeze and defrost as needed.
Dog Food Topper FAQs
Dog food toppers are relatively new on the market, but the concept is one that pup parents have practiced for years. If you’re still unsure about them, here are some highlights to consider:
Do dog food toppers improve canine health?
Meal toppers can boost your dog’s overall health by encouraging an otherwise picky pooch to clean her bowl.
This helps her maintain her weight and avoid some of the unpleasant side effects of not eating, such as spitting up bile. Many dog food toppers contain added nutrients and extras that benefit your pup, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Do dog food toppers have any risks?
Too much of a good thing is your biggest risk with dog food toppers. Always use them in moderation and monitor your pooch’s weight.
If you notice her packing on the pounds, decrease the amount of topper you’re feeding her or seek a lower calorie option. Some topper formulas can also be too rich for dogs with sensitive systems, so introduce new mixtures slowly to prevent any stomach upset.
Are dog food toppers necessary?
No. Dog food toppers are merely an optional tasty addition to your dog’s bowl, though they can make meal time easier for you and more enjoyable for your fur friend.
Why use dog food toppers, anyway?
Dog food toppers are a delicious treat as well as a great enticement for dogs that may need encouraging to eat, such as senior pups. Wetter formulas can also soften kibble, making it easier for dogs with dental issues to eat (of course, you can also just add a bit of wet dog food to your pup’s kibble to achieve the same effect).
Can you make your own dog food toppers?
Absolutely. Creating your own dog food topper mixture at home is a great way to control every ingredient — a must if your pooch is prone to sensitivities.
Why is my dog picky?
Like us, dogs have likes and dislikes. Some dogs are just more stubborn with their dislikes than others. That said, if you notice your dog suddenly acting picky, it’s time to schedule a vet appointment. Unexplained anorexia can be an early indicator of trouble.
Does your woofer enjoy a mealtime topper? Have you tried any of the dog food toppers on our list? Do you use something else? Let us know in the comments!